Rochford

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This article is about the town in the United Kingdom. For other uses, see Rochford (disambiguation).
Rochford
Rochford is located in Essex
Rochford
Rochford
 Rochford shown within Essex
Population 8,471 (2011 census)
OS grid reference TQ876904
District Rochford
Shire county Essex
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Rochford
Postcode district SS4
Dialling code 01702
Police Essex
Fire Essex
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament Rochford and Southend East
List of places
UK
England
Essex

Coordinates: 51°34′56″N 0°42′23″E / 51.5821°N 0.7065°E / 51.5821; 0.7065

Rochford is a town in the Rochford district of Essex in the East of England. It is about 43 miles (69 km) from Central London and approximately 21 miles (34 km) from Chelmsford, the County Town of Essex. According to the 2001 census the civil parish of Rochford, which includes the town proper, and London Southend Airport, had a population of 7,610, increasing to 8,471 at the 2011 Census.[1]

History[edit]

The town is the main settlement in the Rochford district, and takes its name from Rochefort, Old English for Ford of the Hunting Dogs. The River Roach was originally called the Walfleet (Creek of the foreigners). It was renamed the Roach in what is known as a back formation. This is where it is assumed that Rochford means ford over the River Roach so they renamed the river to fit the theory. The town runs into suburban developments in the parishes of Ashingdon and Hawkwell. Kings Hill, in Rochford, was notable for containing the Lawless Court up until the 19th century.[2]

Peculiar People[edit]

In 1837 John Banyard (a reformed drunk and Wesleyan preacher) and William Bridges took a lease on the old workhouse at Rochford which became the first chapel of the Peculiar People, a name taken from Deuteronomy 14:2 and 1 Peter 2:9. The Peculiar People practised a lively form of worship bound by the literal interpretation of the King James Bible, banning both frivolity and medicine. During the two World Wars some were conscientious objectors, believing that war is contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

First World War[edit]

Nearby Southend Airport started life as a grass fighter station in World War I.[3] The site was founded in the autumn of 1914 when farmland between Westbarrow Hall and the Great Eastern railway line at Warners Bridge 2½ miles north of Southend Pier was acquired for RFC training purposes. Training continued until May 1915 when the site, known also as Eastwood, was taken over by the RNAS to become a Station (night) in the fight against intruding Zeppelins.[citation needed]

Second World War[edit]

Southend Airport was opened on the site on 18 September 1935. As World War II approached it was requisitioned by the Air Ministry in August 1939[4] for use as a fighter airfield by No.11 Group RAF. RAF Rochford was a satellite station for RAF Hornchurch and was primarily a fighter base, home mainly to Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane aircraft. Rochford airfield was accompanied by a radar base in Canewdon (around 4 miles (6.4 km) away). Due to the presence of the airfield Rochford was bombed a number of times during the war.[citation needed]

It was returned to civilian service on 31 December 1946.[5]

Lesneys[edit]

Until the early 1980s one of the largest employers in Rochford was the Lesneys factory, who manufactured the famous Matchbox miniature die cast model. However, this company relocated to Rugby, Warwickshire in 1990.[citation needed]

Geography[edit]

The town is just to the north of Southend on Sea, but is sufficiently separated from both Southend and Rayleigh to preserve its own identity [weasel words].

Governance[edit]

The Member of Parliament for Rochford and Southend East is James Duddridge (Conservative). An electoral ward in the same name exists. At the 2011 Census this ward had a population of 7,695.[6]

Landmarks[edit]

There is a Hall in Rochford which is privately owned by a family which live within the building, along with the golf course who also own a part of it. In 1525, Henry VIII awarded Thomas Boleyn the title of Viscount Rochford. Rochford Hall subsequently became the home of Mary Boleyn, sometime mistress of Henry VIII and (probably elder) sister of (Queen) Anne Boleyn, during her second marriage to William Stafford.

Leisure[edit]

Rochford Council are in partnership with Virgin Active in running Clements Hall Leisure Centre and Rayleigh Leisure Centre.

Transport[edit]

Rochford railway station from which trains run to Southend Victoria and to Liverpool Street station in the business district of central London. In consequence it has long been popular as a dormitory town for commuters. Southend Airport railway station on the eastern boundary of the airport, opened on 18 July 2011.

It also has good bus links to the surrounding towns. The Number 7, 8 and 9 service going to both Rayleigh and Southend-on-Sea.

There are over twenty scheduled flight destinations within Europe available from London Southend Airport.

Rochford Hospital[edit]

Rochford Hospital used to be primarily the district maternity hospital. It was here, in 1956, that Sister J Ward made observations that led to the development of phototherapy for newborns suffering from jaundice.[7]

Rochford Hospital was officially opened on Thursday 7 May 2009 by Professor Louis Appleby.

Churches[edit]

St Andrew's Church, Rochford, is close to Rochford Hall, and is part of Rochford Deanery,[8] within the Bradwell Area[9] of the Church of England Diocese of Chelmsford.[10]

Rochford Congregational Church has been part of the local community since 1750. The Congregational Church also established the first Dissenting School in the area; When others were afraid of educating the children of the lower classes because they might prove a danger to the state, the church ensured that ordinary people had "a plain and useful education." [11]

Rochford Methodist Church, near the White Horse Public House. The Methodists have been in Rochford since 1822, originally meeting in a building where Market Alley turns into the Square. In 1841 they moved to a new building in North Street near Weir Pond Road, and in 1880 they moved to their current premises.[12]

Rochford Community Church was founded in 1987 and meets at The Freight House near the railway station.[13]

There is also a small Roman Catholic church in Rochford, St Teresa of the child Jesus.[14]

Notable people[edit]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Rochford Historic Town Project Assessment Report [1]